Little G has got a book of traditional nursery songs and rhymes with an accompanying CD (or as she calls it: an ABCD). Listening to it the other day, and joining in on an inaccurate and ad hoc basis, as we do, I was struck by the violence and nastiness of some of the songs.
Admittedly, they are not as bad as Struwwelpeter, the dreadful infant reading matter that I was brought up on: here is no Big Bad Scissorman cutting off the tiny digits of children who suck their thumbs (the pictures actually showed blood dripping down!), but there are still some that raise the odd eyebrow at the potential outcomes.
Old Mother Hubbard: cruelty to canines.
The Old Woman Who Lived in A Shoe: child starvation, emotional and physical abuse.
Rock A Bye Baby: parental/designated carer neglect culminating in potential fatal child injury.
Sing A Song of Sixpence: wildlife crime followed by avian attack resulting in acute facial deformity.
Goosey Gander: religious intolerance and elder abuse.
Humpty Dumpty: accidental fall off boundary structure, leading to horrific demise.
Jack & Jill: health and safety issues around drinking untreated non-tap water.
We have also noted the same tendency to violent outcomes in the Beatrix Potter books: Peter Rabbit's dad was MADE INTO A PIE when he was caught by Mr McGregor in his garden. Meanwhile at Baby Rhyme Time we are all so culturally sensitive that we have to sing a 'vegetarian' version of 'This Little Piggy' so as not to offend the non-carnivores.
Luckily it all goes right over Little G's head, for now.
To be continued ... ....